HC Deb 26 July 1983 vol 46 c1052 3.40 pm
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that yesterday you were most helpful in protecting the rights of Back-Bench Members, who persuaded a very reluctant Chancellor of the Exchequer to make a statement to the House about the disposal of capital assets, which he had seen fit to issue in a reply to a written question. Would you give similar assistance with the Government's public expenditure plans, which are the largest political issue in Britain today, the consequences of which touch the lives of every British person?

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition asked the Leader of the House during business questions on Thursday for a debate, or at least a statement, on the Government's public expenditure plans. If the Executive see fit to ask for time to make a statement, will you ensure that they encounter no difficulty from you? Today, unlike yesterday, there is an avalanche of statements from the Executive, but, alas, none of them relates to the public expenditure plans. If the Executive say that they wish to make such a statement, would you give Back-Bench Members every assistance, as you did yesterday, by allowing them to make it?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman pays me a compliment, but I seek to do my duty by the House. I am not responsible for the organisation of Government business. I was here on Thursday, and I heard what was asked.

Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney and Poplar)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not extraordinary that it is nearly three weeks since the Chancellor made his panicky statement about public expenditure cuts, but no details of the implications of those cuts have been laid before the House? Relating directly to your duties in the House, Mr. Speaker, and to your conduct of its business, did not yesterday's affair show that unless the Chancellor is willing to come forward and to confront the House, instead of leaking bits of information in written answers, the House's business is likely to be disrupted?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, I think that yesterday we saw Back-Bench Members of the House of Commons making plain their wishes, and they succeeded.